In December 1901, botanist Alexander Pierce Anderson created puffed rice while experimenting with starch crystals in his laboratory. Although he did not yet realize the significance of his discovery, Anderson's new breakfast food would make him a nationally known figure and the face of a Quaker Oats advertising campaign for almost a decade.
In 1878, Red River Valley businessmen Henry A. Bruns and Henry G. Finkle built the first steam-powered grain elevator in the United States. In its first harvest season, the grain elevator handled almost 250,000 bushels of wheat from more than 5,000 wagons.
While working at Minneapolis's Washburn mills in the late 1870s, William de la Barre became an internationally known hydroelectricity expert and a key player in the development of water power at St. Anthony Falls.
The Goodsell Observatory and its predecessor, a smaller observatory that opened in 1878, helped keep trains running on time and brought national prominence to Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
The world's most iconic home thermostat was created in Minneapolis. The Round, designed by engineer Carl Kronmiller and designer Henry Dreyfuss, was introduced in 1953 by the company then known as Minneapolis-Honeywell. The Round became both a sales mainstay and a world-renowned piece of industrial art.
Centralized hydroelectric power came on for the first time in the United States in downtown Minneapolis on September 5, 1882. Minnesota Brush Electric Company produced the power, beating a similar effort in Appleton, Wisconsin, by twenty-five days.
Dr. C. Walton Lillehei was a world-famous professor of surgery at the University of Minnesota and an innovator in the field of open-heart surgery. He participated in the world's first successful open-heart operation, developed techniques and devices that made open-heart surgery more successful, and pioneered the use of pacemakers and artificial heart valves.
The Medtronic medical device company was founded in 1949 by Earl Bakken and Palmer Hermundslie. From its beginnings in a converted garage, it has grown into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise and one of Minnesota’s leading businesses.
When Bernard Pietenpol started to build airplanes in his Cherry Grove workshop, he had never actually piloted one. He only learned to fly once he had built his first plane. Nevertheless, Pietenpol's popular designs for lightweight, easy-to-construct airplanes made him the "father of the homebuilt aircraft movement."
Patented in 1915, the ensilage harvester improved on standard practices for harvesting and storing crops, and streamlined farm work. Its basic design, largely unmodified, is still used by agricultural implement companies worldwide.
On May 11, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 7037 to create the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), a New Deal public relief program. The program provided $1 million for federal loans to bring electric service to rural areas. It revolutionized life in rural Minnesota and across the country.
In 1939, Frederick McKinley Jones patented the world’s first successful refrigerated transportation system. At the time, he was working for the Minneapolis-based company U.S. Thermo Control. Two years later, he released an improved version, the Model C, which revolutionized the agriculture and military industries.